Gone Phishing

I know this may be off topic here for photography, but I thought that it would be a good idea to educate /remind people that Phishing still exists. The other day, I received an e-Mail from attorney in West Africa promising $10.4. For most of us, this appeared to be a thing of the past, while for others they have gone phishing.

Wikipedia defines Phishing as:

The act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.[1][2] Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure unsuspecting public. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware.[3] Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing[4] or instant messaging,[5] and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate

Like I said, most of us had experienced this many years ago. We usually received e-Mails from Ghana, Nigeria, or Russia; asking to help with bills or promises of newly found riches. According to Kaspersky Lab, last year they reported 37.3 million users attacked by phishing. The methodology used was from 50 million individual users who were running Windows OS. Here are their main findings:

 

In 2012-2013, 37.3 million users around the world were subjected to phishing attacks — up 87% from 2011-2012.

Most often, phishing attacks targeted users in Russia, the US, India, Vietnam and the UK

Phishing attacks were most frequently launched from the US, the UK, Germany, Russia and India.

Yahoo!, Google, Facebook and Amazon are top targets of malicious users.

Online game services, online payment systems, and the websites of banks and other credit and financial organizations are also common targets.

Over 20% of all attacks targeted banks and other credit and financial organizations

The number of distinct sources of attacks in 2012 and 2013 increased 3.3 times

More than one-half (56.1%) of all identified sources of phishing attacks were located in just 10 countries

 

It is sad that phishing scams still continue and criminals still prey upon the weak and generous, but as long as there are people in this world, it will continue. Some tips to avoid phishing scams:

Do not open e-Mails from people you don’t know.

Hit the Reply button to check the actual e-Mail address.

Scrap your current e-Mail address and create a new one just for private use.

Once you create a new e-Mail address, use the old one for everything not personal (i.e. dating sites, job boards, pharmaceutical sites, reward cards).

Avoid signing up for anything, including free items.

Evade responding to e-Mails promising to share Bill Gates wealth.

 

I could go on and one with this topic, as I am sure you would like me to, but let’s save a little later. Well, I hope I have given you some valuable tips to think about. It’s not all bad, just be clear and informative, it will save you a lot of headaches. Remember nothing is set in stone and there is not perfect formula, so go out and have some fun.